It seems people are tripping over themselves to legalise cannabis these days. Everyone is talking about it and efforts to do so are well under-way. So why is another plant, tobacco, still considered to be the most dangerous drug known to man?
The Government get a lot of money from tobacco; £13 billion per year currently. Anti-tobacco groups also get a lot of money from tobacco. The Government pays them with our taxes to do a job. That job is to tell the Government what it wants to hear; that the general population want to be controlled more.
The Tobacco Control Industry does not just tell the Government that tobacco might be harmful and people should be warned. They tell the Government that all non-smokers want smoking to be banned and all smokers desperately want to quit.
That gives the Government something else that it loves almost as much as money: Control. So tobacco provides both money and the means to control people. All Governments want this.
But the trouble is, the more restrictions the Government places on tobacco and its users, the less revenue it gets. When they actually succeed in forcing people to quit, they no longer pay tobacco taxes. That can only happen for so long. Eventually both the money and the means to control people even further, will start to dry up.
So why not replace tobacco with something else? The war on drugs is not working and it was never supposed to. There is also a lot of money and control to be garnered by fighting drugs, from law enforcement to the army of councillors and addiction specialists employed by the state.
The public are becoming more used to the idea of legalising cannabis because it is a relatively harmless drug compared to most of them, so it’s a perfect candidate to be made legally available and taxed. This approach would enable to Government to recoup the losses of tobacco tax.
They would lose some of the control for a short period of time, as they would no longer be able to bully people for using cannabis, but it wouldn’t last. There will always be prodnoses who think they have the right to tell others what to do, so sooner or later, these people would be going cap in hand to the Government, demanding their share of the Control Industry pie.
Give it a few years and there will be a cannabis Control Industry to rival the size and scope of tobacco control, demanding the Government punish and denormalise another group of people enjoying another legal product.
The Government cannot loose. The only losers are the general public who just want to be left alone. Yet again. Maybe when the Tobacco Control Industry has switched battles, us smokers will finally get some peace?